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Amazon Halts Wikileaks Hosting

December 2, 2010

After criticism from congressional staff, Amazon decided to boot Wikileaks from its servers, forcing the whistleblower website to use Web-hosting services in Europe, Wikileaks said Wednesday.

According to the Associated Press (AP),  Senator Joe Lieberman said Amazon was questioned about its relationship with Wikileaks, which led to the online retail company cutting its ties with the whistleblower website.

Wikileaks confirmed the ousting hours after AP reported that Amazon’s servers had stopped hosting the Wikileaks site. The site was unavailable for several hours before being moved back to Bahnhof AB, its previous host in Sweden.

Wikileaks had released a host of sensitive diplomatic documents on Sunday. Just before the release, the website suffered an Internet-based attack that made it unavailable for hours at a time. Wikileaks reacted by moving the site from Swedish servers to Amazon Web Services that can be rented on a self-service basis to meet traffic surges.

But that move came with much legal and political pressure from US authorities.

“Wikileaks servers at Amazon ousted. Free speech the land of the free–fine our $ are now spent to employ people in Europe,” the whistleblower said Wednesday in a Twitter post.

“If Amazon are so uncomfortable with the first amendment, they should get out of the business of selling books,” Wikileaks said in another tweet.

“The company’s decision to cut off Wikileaks now is the right decision and should set the standard for other companies Wikileaks is using to distribute its illegally seized material,” Lieberman said in a statement to AP. He said he planned on questioning Amazon further about the affair.

Wikileaks has no solid geographic home, but founder Julian Assange sought to establish residency in Sweden to take advantage of laws protecting those who funnel info out to the media. However, Swedish authorities denied his application for a residency permit.

There is now an international arrest warrant out for Assange based on allegations of sexual assault rooting from his stay in the country. Assange has denied the charges. The Swedish police have yet to file formal charges however. The Wikileaks founder’s whereabouts are unknown.

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